Lesbians On Ecstasy
Hip Hop at High Noon, Aug. 10
Yep, they’re called Lesbians On Ecstasy. No, they’re not a bunch of dykes on drugs.
They are four women from Montreal who see no reason why “womyn’s music” need be restricted to folkie acoustic stylings. Bernie Bankrupt (keyboards), Veronique Mystique (bass), Jackie “The JackHammer” (drums) and vocalist Fruity Frankie (aka Lynne T) make “electronic music of the lesbian variety.”
It’s not every day someone listens to a Melissa Etheridge song and asks, “Could it be made into a dance-floor banger?”
This isn’t your mother’s lesbian music. And yet it is – only, well, after a hit of E. Not that the group endorses drugs. In fact, the name isn’t about drugs at all. Alas, says Bankrupt, the name has caused some troubles.
“It’s definitely been a blessing and a curse, that’s for sure,” she tells BTL from Montreal. “Some people take it the wrong way, but some people just think that it means something that it doesn’t.”
What does it mean?
“I don’t know what it means. What it doesn’t mean (is) that we’re crazy porno lesbians for one, or that we’re crazy militant lesbians, either,” she says. “I find that, especially with typical music critics or in the more mainstream music world, just the fact that we have the word ‘lesbian’ in our name, people can’t see past it.”
The ecstasy part upsets people, too. But when you consider what the group is doing, the title makes sense. According to its record company, “Lesbians on Ecstasy hijack the back catalog of popular lesbian anthems, dragging them kicking and screaming out of the folk festivals and onto the drugged-up revelry of the dance floor.”
“We like to say the lesbians on ecstasy aren’t necessarily us,” says Bankrupt.
LOE formed in 2003 to play a feminist electronic arts festival in Montreal. “It went so well we got a lot of other requests, and it sort of took off from there,” Bankrupt says.
In April, LOE released their latest record, “We Know That You Know.” The title comes from a Meg Christianson album released on Olivia Records in the 1970s called “I Know You Know.”
LOE mines Christianson further in the song “Sedition.” “The lyrics are actually from a Meg Christianson song from the ’70s called ‘Leaping Lesbians.’ The song that she wrote had a very different feel to it,” Bankrupt says. “We changed it around to make it sound much more evil.”
Indeed, the song sounds more like Nine Inch Nails than ’70s folk. But not everything LOE does is so dark. As the name implies, these women like to have fun, as evident in “Party Time” with its naughty spoken-word barrage.
When LOE makes their first visit to Michigan to play the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival, they’ll face an audience hip to the classics they’re remaking. “I think a lot of the ladies (in) Michigan might recognize a lot of the stuff,” says Bankrupt.
In fact, some of the very artists LOE have sampled, like Cris Williamson and Teresa Trull, will be present. “We hope they don’t hate what we did,” Bankrupt says.
And while the group is looking forward to the festival, they’re not exactly avid campers. “We’re sort of more techno. We like to be inside at clubs, but we’re willing to suck it up for the festival,” she says. “Our lead singer is incredibly afraid of bugs, so she’s said she’s going to wear full-body netting the whole time.”